OXFORD, Miss. — No. 12 Georgia fell behind 45-0 before 23rd-ranked Ole Miss decided to let up as the Bulldogs lost 45-14 on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak to UGA for the Rebels. Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC) will play host to 14th-ranked Tennessee (4-0, 1-0) next Saturday in Athens.
Here’s how Georgia graded out as a team:
Georgia will point to its 230 yards rushing and 396 yards overall. But most of that production and all of the Bulldogs’ scoring came after Ole Miss had built a 45-0 lead in the third quarter. Georgia once again struggled to protect the passer (3 sacks), could not run the ball effectively when it needed to (4 of 16 on third down) and committed too many penalties (8 for 52 yards). The receivers dropped too many balls and Jacob Eason’s pick-six interception was a killer.
Ole Miss scored on five of its first seven possessions and had 500 yards offense through three quarters. Georgia gave up 330 yards passing but also allowed 5.8 yards per rush as the Bulldogs yielded their most points since losing to Florida 49-10 in 2008. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker benched cornerbacks Juwuan Briscoe and Malkom Parrish at different times because they could not cover. Once again, the Bulldogs managed just 1 sack.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D
The Bulldogs converted a fake punt on fourth and long as punter Marshall Long connected with Sony Michel for a 29-yard gain and they kept the Rebels contained on returns. But Georgia missed another mid-range field goal. This time, it was Rodrigo Blankenship who was wide right from 36 yards. The Bulldogs were also offsides on the second-half kickoff.
Kirby Smart said himself he did not have the Bulldogs prepared to play, and they wilted fast after falling behind 10-0 midway through the first quarter. Georgia had eight penalties, including being flagged for having 12 men on the field, didn’t defend quarterback Chad Kelly’s run-pass option plays and didn’t show much ingenuity on offense. Spread offenses continue to be a bugaboo for Smart’s defenses.
This wasn’t a must-win for the Bulldogs with it being against a Western Division opponent. But they needed to show they could compete with one of the SEC’s top-shelf teams. Confidence will be a major issue as Georgia gets set to host Tennessee in an SEC East showdown next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.